Sunny summer days are made for backyard barbecues, so let’s review basic backyard cookout behavior.
There Can Only Be One Chef
When attending a barbecue as a guest, resist the urge to share your grilling techniques with the host or hostess. Everyone has his or her own way of doing things, but it’s insufferably rude to act as if only you know the correct way to grill food. Even if you’ve won the World Series of Barbecue, sit back, enjoy the food, and be sure to compliment the chef.
When you’re invited to a barbecue, it isn’t rude to ask if you can bring a plus one, but it is rude to simply assume it’s OK to do so and startle your hosts. Make a point of arriving within 10 minutes of the time provided by your hosts; arriving too early can interrupt the setup process, and arriving an hour or so late shows a lack of respect.
Even if your hosts say that you don’t need to bring anything, don’t show up for a barbecue empty-handed. Napkins or paper towels are items that will always be appreciated, as are dessert items such as cookies or a pie. If you have dietary restrictions, let the hosts know when you accept the invitation, and bring something that you can eat, discreetly, without making a fuss or embarrassing the hosts.
A casual barbecue is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with old friends and possibly make a few new ones. If you’re the host, your first job is to make sure that all of the guests are comfortable and enjoying themselves. If you see a shy guest, buzz on over and make them feel welcome by introducing them to the others. As a guest, say hello to everyone to enhance your enjoyment as well as theirs.
A family get-together isn’t the same as a bunch of college buddies having a reunion, and it calls for much different behavior. Regardless of whether the crowd is made up of family, close friends, or folks whom you’ve just met, respectful, polite behavior is always the best option. Refrain from cursing—this is never appropriate—and overindulging in adult beverages. Don’t appoint yourself the party DJ, either. Leave only smiles in your wake.